If you’re a freelancer, you know how hard it is to keep yourself on task. If you work under someone else’s employ, you know how hard it is for your boss to keep you on task.
None of us wants to do the work in front of us, no matter how important it is to the overall scheme of things (like earning a paycheck).
So what’s to be done? I have thought about this question long and hard. I can only come up with one solution:
Let’s face it; we’re all shady characters. If you asked any one of us to do something incredibly unpleasant (like cleaning a stopped-up toilet), we would probably think of a million ways we could avoid doing that task.
If, however, you offered us a million dollars to perform said unpleasant task, we’d be falling all over ourselves to do it. We’d punch other people in the face to make sure they didn’t get that million bucks before we did.
We are vicious and money-grubbing and I love us.
Bribery at Work
Now, some among us (JAMES, I’m looking at you) actually consider work-related tasks to be bribery enough.
For example, marketing is an unpleasant task. Almost no one I know actually enjoys the process of sending out cold emails. The thrill of winning the client just isn’t enough for us.
For James, winning the client is like winning a million bucks. He will punch other copywriters in the face to get that client, and when he gets the client, he crows about it for weeks. The dude has issues.
The point is that for some people, their bribe is written right into the fabric of the task itself. For James, the client is the bribe. The marketing is the unpleasant task written right into the fabric of the task and must be performed to achieve the goal.
And so, James gladly does the unpleasant task to win his bribe.
Bribery for the Rest of Us
For me and for many other people I know, the client really ought to be bribe enough. After all, the client pays us money for services performed. We should be all over that bribe.
Unfortunately, the bribe is too far removed from the action. For us, it is much like saying if you clean your toilet every day, you earn ten bucks for each cleaning. Some days you might do it. Other days, you decide the ten bucks wasn’t worth it.
So what do you do? You need to up the bribe. Come up with something far more immediately appealing, and bribe the heck out of yourself.
Awesome bribes I have used for myself:
• Finish ebook = Get to buy awesome new boots
• Complete day’s quota of press releases = Breakfast with friend at Lucile’s Creole palace of deliciousness
• Make cold calls = One jelly bean for every cold call
• Finish blog post – Go to yoga with my awesome German friend
Even little bribes work. Tell yourself you can have something only if you finish the task first. If you don’t finish the task, you don’t get the bribe. Also, someone will come to your house and whack you.
Well, okay, no. No, they won’t. But your business might fail. And that would suck just as much as getting whacked by a stranger.
What’s your favorite bribe?